Cuba will join the Bonn Challenge on June 12, when it will announce its commitments in the reforestation and restoration of its forests until 2030 during the fifth regional meeting of this initiative that will be held in Havana.
Although the island has been participating in these meetings since 2016, thanks to the invitation of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD), it is now that it will officially join this global program, backed by an experience that has allowed it to increase its forest index to more than 32% of its territory.
It will be able to present this experience at the meeting, which will be held at the Meliá Cohíba Hotel and will be attended by local authorities, plus ministers, deputy ministers and other officials from 23 countries, as well as representatives of international organizations and the German government, promoter of the challenge in 2011 together with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
As a novelty, for the first time other Caribbean nations and from the South American region will be included, which will multiply the scope of the meeting, until now starring Central America.
In addition, a statement from the participants should be approved in order to make visible the results of the initiative and its impact on government agendas, according to Jesús Guerra, specialist in International Relations of the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) and member of the meeting’s Organizing Committee.
Guerra explained this Thursday at a press conference that the Havana meeting’s main objectives will be to share national achievements in reforestation, strengthen regional cooperation and promote the Decade of Restoration of Ecosystems, a global initiative approved by the United Nations as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The exchanges will be divided into three main blocks: lessons learned between 2011 and 2019, the role of forest restoration in adapting to climate change and the projections for 2020-2030.
Likewise, homage will be paid to German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt on the 250th anniversary of his birth, and a memorandum of understanding will be signed between Cuba and the CCAD for greater joint work that will include financing, technical assistance and training, among other actions.
The meeting will be extended to June 13, when participants will visit the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve and the community of Las Terrazas, in the province of Artemisa, west of the Cuban capital. There they will exchange with authorities and residents, learn about the local experience of sustainable development, and plant trees in the place, following the Bonn Challenge tradition.
The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested forests by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. The first goal was defined at an event organized by the German government and IUCN in Bonn in 2011, when the challenge was launched, and subsequently expanded to 2030 at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit.
It is a voluntary and non-binding mechanism, in which to date 58 countries are signatories and more than 170 million hectares have been committed. Although this Thursday Cuba’s commitments for its official registration weren’t advanced, Guerra said they would be “credible” with a view to compliance despite the economic difficulties that the island is experiencing.